Building a small form factor PC is all the rage these days. (Although some people still like their builds big and corpulent.) But scaling can create unforeseen problems if you’re used to a mid-tower sized case, like cables being chewed up by fans.
Ideally, your small case will offer good cable management, but sometimes your components interlock in a way that results in wonky routing. Also, if the chassis does not have adequate cable tie-down points, the power or fan cables may end up a little too close to the fan blades. Indicates gnarly sounds and crippled cable jackets.
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Thankfully, you can easily fix this with an inexpensive accessory: fan grilles. They aren’t used that often in PC builds these days, but you’ll find them readily available at the usual shops like Amazonia And New egg. A multipack costs $10 or less.
Installing these with your own fans will keep criss-crossing cables safe within the narrow interior of a small form factor case. Not all SFF cases will need this – you’ll be able to tell after you finish building if you might need to place an order. You can even go one step further and buy fancy fan guards, but that starts to border on pure aesthetics (and careful consideration of the effect on the airflow). But otherwise, the basic fan grille style will be more than enough, allowing you to enjoy your build without worry.